Running for school trustee in Zone 6 (City of Williams Lake) is something Dr. Doug Neufeld has been considering for some time.
“Sometimes if you come from a different profession you will have a different perspective,” Neufeld says.
As a medical professional he says he has experience dealing with large budgets and providing services to a large rural region such as School District 27.
For the past 20 years Neufeld says he has visited Redstone once a month to see patients, and for the past six years has also made monthly health-care visits to Nemiah Valley.
“So I am certainly aware of some of the issues for rural schools,” Neufeld says. Neufeld moved to Williams Lake in 1990 to practice family medicine and served as Cariboo Memorial Hospital chief of medical staff from 93 to 96. He is currently the diabetic medical director at CMH, and serves on several hospital committees. He has served on the Williams Lake Minor Hockey executive and coached both minor soccer, and minor hockey. He is also medical director and owner of Cariboo Aesthetic Laser Clinic.
Neufeld and his wife, Cindy, a teacher with the district, have four children who have all attended Williams Lake schools.
Neufeld says he doesn’t know enough yet as a non-board member to comment on specific school reconfiguration concepts such as moving to a junior/senior secondary school model to deal with falling enrolment issues.
However, he says the financial and educational pros and cons of each situation need to assessed and decisions need to be made in a rational, evidence-based fashion.
“Every kid in our district deserves an excellent education and part of that is figuring out how to achieve that within the resources available,” Neufeld says.
“I’m not saying I’m satisfied with the funding available, but the bottom line is you have to do it with the funds available,” Neufeld says. “If the (school) board functions in an accountable fashion the chances of maintaining autonomy are greater than if you don’t.”
He supports administrative and teacher evaluations and parent involvement in education.
“You can’t be accountable unless you evaluate what you are doing,” Neufeld says.